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RFID News Roundup

Farsens unveils development platform for battery-free wireless sensors, actuators ••• BeaconStream updates Bluetooth beacons, software ••• Q-Track launches RTLS-enabled tool for emergency responder radiation training ••• ThingMagic firmware simplifies RFID-enabled product development ••• Bluvision's iBEEK beacons feature TI's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart solutions ••• Honeywell acquires Datamax-O'Neil for $185M.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jan 08, 2015

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Farsens; BeaconStream; Q-Track; ThingMagic; Bluvision, Texas Instruments; Honeywell and Datamax-O'Neil.

Farsens Unveils Development Platform for Battery-Free Wireless Sensors, Actuators

Farsens, a Spanish developer of RFID sensor tags, has unveiled the Medusa, a platform designed for developers that want to create ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID battery-free sensors and actuators. The Medusa harvests energy from the RF field created by the RFID reader to power up the chip, the microcontroller, and the circuitry and devices attached to it. According to Farsens, the RFID interface is compatible with commercial UHF RFID readers that support EPC Gen 2.

Farsens' Medusa
The Medusa includes Farsens' ANDY100 chip and a MSPG2233IPW20 general-purpose, low-power microcontroller from Texas Instruments. The ANDY100 chip works under standard EPC Gen 2 commands, using any standards-based UHF RFID reader, so no proprietary or custom commands are needed.

The ANDY100 IC includes an RF front end for UHF RFID power harvesting and communication, a power supply module to generate the required voltage levels, and an SPI master module. In order to isolate the supply of the RFID tag from the supply of the rest of the system, the diode D1 is included. A voltage monitor is also included, to connect the microcontroller only after the energy storage capacitor has been charged. The voltage monitor connects the microcontroller when the charge in the capacitor exceeds 2.4 volts, and disconnects it when the charge falls below 1.8 volts. This architecture avoids oscillation of the system during the startup.

With a 2-watt ERP setup, the battery-less Medusa tag can communicate with a reader located up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) away, though the actual distance depends on the firmware downloaded to the microcontroller and the activities it performs, Farsens reports. It is available with a standard SMA connector, so that different antennas can be tested. The Medusa features 2 kilobytes of Flash memory, 256 bits of SRAM and 96 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory, and has an operating temperature of -30 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees to +185 degrees Fahrenheit).

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